Hawaii island firefighters rescued a mariner today after his sailboat became disabled and he hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for three days.
The man contacted the Coast Guard this morning, saying the motor failed on his 26-foot sailboat Mimsy and he was still about 11 miles northeast of Hawaii island, said Battalion Chief Gerald Kosaki.
He was only able to communicate via marine radio with the Coast Guard who relayed the information to the Fire Department.
The man was travelling about 1 mph toward Hilo under wind power.
Firefighters typically do not tow vessels larger than their 23-foot boat and decided to allow the man to approach closer to shore under wind power, Kosaki said.
Several hours later, the Coast Guard told firefighters that the man said his tiller broke and he was drifting in the water.
The Coast Guard launched a cutter from Oahu and said estimated it would take about 10 hours to reach the man. A vessel on Hawaii island apparently was undergoing maintenance.
One hour later, the Coast Guard called firefighters and asked if they could deliver supplies to the man because he reported he hadn’t eaten or drunk anything in three days.
Instead of dropping off food and leaving the man at sea, firefighters towed the man back to Hilo Bay Tuesday afternoon from about three miles off shore, Kosaki said.
It was unknown what caused the man’s motor to fail or where he came from or where he was going.
Kosaki said the man was in good spirits and not hurt.
It was the second time the Mimsy was rescued in the Pacific in two months.
On March 17, the vessel was disabled and adrift with one mariner aboard about 30 miles off shore near San Francisco, according to a Coast Guard news release.
The mariner called for help and reported the vessel lost its rigging during a recent storm. A Coast Guard rescue boat crew towed the boat back to Monterey, Calif.